tv International Programming CSPAN July 20, 2011 7:00am-7:30am EDT
>> why doesn't he do more -- why doesn't he do more than give a half apology and give a full apology now for hiring mr. coulson and bringing him into the heart of do you think street? >> the prime minister. >> what i would say to the right honorable gentleman is stop hunting feeble conspiracies and go to the level of events. most of that was just a tissues of totally -- i will try and answer every point -- first of all, let me thank him for what
he said about recording parliament. that is right. let me thank him what he said about lord levson. let me thank him what he said about the panel which we sent the names to his office this morning. i have to say on most of the other questions i feel he wrote the questions before he heard my statement today. he asked -- he asks about the issue of -- he asks about the issue of bskyb. the cabinet secretary has said there was no breach of the ministerial code. i have set out every single meeting since the last election. no. the right honorable gentleman published a list this morning but it does not go back to the last election. and indeed when are we going to see the transparency from tony
blair and from gordon brown? second, second, second issue -- second issue, his questions about andy gillison. >> order, the house is getting overexcited again. i'm glad it's calmed down and we want to listen to what the prime minister to say. >> and he asks questions about andy coulson, no one has raised a single question about his conduct at number 10 downing street and there was only one party with a news national executive with a cloud in his head sitting in his office. third question, the questions he raising about my chief of staff edward luellen. is he honestly saying when it comes to the proposed meeting with the john yates is the leader of the opposition suggesting that he knows better
than the chairman of the home secretary than the cabinet secretary than john yates and paul stevenson and all these people including jeremy hayward who by the way who worked diligently for tony blair and gordon brown. is he saying all those people are wrong and he's right? let me just answer the question about sir paul's resignation. i know he set out his resignation in detailed evidence and explained how the situation was so different to the situation in number ten downing street. most of the questions i had asked i had already answered. the role of the chief of staff answered. the role of mr. wallace answered. rupert murdoch said and i quote the politician i was closest to was gordon brown as chancellor.
and let us just remember, let us just remember who was the advisor who gordon brown was the chancellor? >> you'll want to hear the answers given their own prime minister. the prime minister. >> and let us just remember, mr. speaker, who was the to gordon brown when he was chancellor the right honorable gentleman. on the issue of the action we have taken, let us remember during the last parliament, reports of the information commissioner ignored. reports of the select committee ignored. the failure of the police investigation ignored. we now know exactly which party was if you like the sumber party and it was the party opposite. but, frankly, mr. speaker, everyone can see exactly what he's doing, an attempt to play this for narrow party advantage. the problem has been taking place over many years. the problem is for both of our
main problems and our problem is the one the party expects us and to rise for the occasion and deal with it for the good of the country. >> order. mr. david davis. >> thank you, mr. speaker. under the previous labour government, when my right honorable friend the member for ashford damien green was arrested by the metropolitan police, the prime minister and home secretary today were not notified of the details of that investigation. at the time the labour front bench insisted that the matter of ministerial primity that they were not doing do. has he done what he should do and to say otherwise is hi-spock si? >> my right honorable friend makes a very good point. i think when you read the exchange of emails and you see what edward luellen said, you see it was cleared by inadvance of jeremy hayward.
we don't live in a country where the prime minister should start ordering who should be arrested and who shouldn't be? >> the home secretary made a statement on monday of over 1,000 words but the two words neil and wallace weren't mentioned. she like me was unaware of his appointment. but we didn't -- we weren't in a situation where neil wallace's buddy was working for us. did the prime minister know neil wallace was giving advice to the metropolitan police. >> no i didn't know. and in relation to the work he did for the work for andy coulson i was unaware of that. that's an important point and one of the issues is the transparency and information that there was about neil wallace and the metropolitan police. the one thing everyone has to say about number 10 downing street, there was no hiding the
fact that we had employed andy coulson. >> mr. simon hughes. >> mr. speaker, i join the prime minister to paying attention to paul stevenson and thank him for the announcements he has made but will he now explicitly say that he accepts that all governments from this one back for over 20 years have been far too close to the media giants in this country? that has to end which means no back-door visits to number 10. and that we should be able to have not just sight of party political parties but if necessary cabinet papers and the recommendations of the information commissioner and others to be implemented to increase criminal penalties for illegality immediately? >> well, first of all, i accept the point he makes about transparency and what i set out is not just meetings that our business meetings, official meetings with media executives and proprietors but private
meetings as well and in relation to the meeting i held with rupert murdoch the fact is not mr. he came through the back door or front door but was it te-claire in the proper way and yes, it was. in the old days whether you found out if someone met for rupert murdoch was waiting for alistar campbell's diaries. so in our case we have been very transparent. it goes all the way back to the meetings and it includes meetings whether they were at checkers or number 10 downing street and i think we should go further in this regard and i believe this should be the right regard and i sigh to the right honorable gentleman who published the information up to when he became the leader of the labour party, why can't we go back to that. >> mr. jack straw. >> when the prime minister read of the extensive investigation in the "new york times" on the first of september of last year, what was his reaction to that? and what did he do? >> the question i ask myself all the way through is there new information that andy coulson
new about hacking at "news of the world." i couldn't be clear about this. if it turns out that he knew about that hacking he would have lied to a select committee, he would have lied to the police. he would have lied to a court of law and he will have lied to me. now, i made the decision to employ him in good faith because of the assurances he gave me. there was no information in that article that would lead me to change my mind about those assurances. but if it turns out -- as i said, i couldn't be clearer. if it turns out if he knew about the hacking, then that will be a matter of huge regret, a matter of great apology, a disgrace not only that he worked in government and also vitally or something that would be subject to criminal prosecutions. >> mr. john wittingdale. >> does my right honorable friend agree that people really care about is the appalling revolutions that has been going on in the newsroom of the news
of the world and the metropolitan police and the public anger about that is expressly felt by thousands of hard-working and honest journalists and thousands of dedicated and courageous police officers. and for that reason, it is essential for the police investigation to be completed as quickly as possible, the ipc investigation should be completed and the judicial inquiry should get underway and completed as quickly as possible. and can he give an absolute assurance that those now will be given to the priority that they should have been given a long time ago? >> my honorable friend is entirely right. the absolute heart of this we have got to keep the victims of the hacking scandal and those are people who suffered appallingly already and were made to suffer all over again. and the key thing is here is the extent and scale of the judicial inquiry. an inquiry like this into the media, into the malpractice and yes into politicians too has not been held for many, many years. it has been talked about and
daitd dated. >> tom watson? >> mr. speaker, i must challenge the prime minister on the accuracy of one of his assertions. he said that nobody raised andy coulson's conduct with him whilst he worked for the prime minister. i did in a letter on the 4th of october last year. after new allegations that he'd listened to tapes of intercepted voicemail messages came through and i said in a letter that this cast doubt on the accuracy mr. coulson's statements and i'm waiting for a reply. >> the point i'm making -- the point i'm making is simply this, the time that andy coulson spent at number 10 downing street the work he has done for the government no one has made with.
as i said, i gave am second chance, after he had resigned from the "news of the world" because of what happened under his watch. no one has raised his conduct at number 10 while he carried out that job. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has said that contact with the media will be published since the general election. i have to say i don't think that's good enough. what we said to know is we need to know the context that the government has had for the last 10 years with the media. we need an investigation into home office and what home offices were doing. >> the point i make to the honorable gentleman is this inquiry is specifically looking at the relationship between politicians and the media and indeed at the request of the conduct of both. that conduct can go as far as back as it wants to examine relationships in politics in the
media. frankly, i think we all need to be clear particularly the two main parties that the level of contact has been very great. that we did spend too much time, frankly, trying to, you know, get on with media companies to get our message across. and as a result, we put on the back burner too often the last government, the last opposition. we put on the back burner too often the issues of how to regulate the media. that's the mistake that we make. we both all got to be honest about it. and it's not just by the way -- it's not just by the way the relationship with news international. it's also about the work we do trying to win over the bbc or the independent or the guardian. let's be frank about this. let's be transparent about the meetings we had and then we can learn the lessons and use this as a cathartic moment to sort out the relationship and put it on a bigger footing. >> i'm not sure if the prime minister was awake at 5:00 this morning but i'm glad to hear it. but the home affairs select committee published a unanimous
report which pointed out to the fact that we believe there was serious misjudgments in the police investigation as well as that news international had deliberately thwarted a police investigation. he wouldn't have had a chance to read the evidence of lord mcdonald who said he took five minutes to look at a file to realize there was criminality. the file was with them for four years. we send out a message from the dispatch box that anyone who has information about this matter should hand it over to sue acres and explain why it's been withheld? >> well, i'd certainly send this message out at the same time thanking the right honorable gentleman for his work has been done. i haven't been able to study all the evidence yesterday. i did look at the key conclusions of his report this morning and i think the work that his committee is doing that is drilling down in the conduct of news international and indeed the police is extremely valuable but now what we got to let happen is the police investigation properly resourced to get underway to get to the
truth and to make sure there are prosecutions as appropriate and to let the inquiry get underway to do its work as well but i think the right honorable gentleman has played a very good role to help that make that happen. >> at the time when the house is involved about this awful issue of phone hacking and a time when most people in the country are most concerned about what's going on in the eurozone area and the impact that that might have on their jobs and their employment in this country that the leader of the opposition is so narrowly focused -- [inaudible] >> the point i would make i think to all honorable members is the public wants us to sort this out and one of the reasons they want us to sort it out and they want us to do it on a cross-party basis they want us to get on to the other issues that they care so deeply about. and everyone has got to recognize the threat and the problems that we face as there
are difficulties in the eurozone. difficulties that will affect us right here in the u.k. but i fully understand and recognize we got to deal with this before we can get on to those issues. >> in his -- in his conversations -- in his conversations with the murdoches and mrs. brooks and other people were there any mention of the bskyb bit? >> as rebecca brooks said yesterday in parliament there was never a conversation that could have been held in front of the select committee. he asked me to answer the question. perhaps he will now be transparent as he was culture secretary about all of the contacts he has had with the news international over the years. i set out the clearest possible position. it is now others to do the same. >> jay swenson. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in light of ms. brooks revelation business how cozy and close the relationship was between news international and tony blair and murdoch's secret
back door meetings at number 10 in the last and present governments, does the prime minister agree that the those governments have been so reluctant to act in response to the 2003 recommendations, the 2006 information commissioner report and last year's mp's for a judiciary inquiry for phone hacking. >> people shouldn't shout the honorable lady she may give a very fair point and it doesn't reflect well on either conservative or labour. there was a lot of warnings about what was going. warning for the information commissioner, warnings from the select committee but we didn't put high enough up the agenda the issue of regulating the media now we shouldn't be pointing fingers about this. we should be recognizing that we need to work on this to get it right, to respond to those reports and actually put some of those proposals into the law.
>> my right honorable friend the member who chairs the home affairs committee refers to the file that was compiled in 2007, which was sent off to the legal firm. now, in that according to lord mcdonald the former dppp there is absolutely blindingly obvious evidence that police officers were paid for information by the newspaper. news international are still refusing that to be fully considered insisting on client confidentiality so the important british firm are unable to put their side of the argument. isn't this clear that news international are still refusing to cooperate fully with the investigation? >> the point i would make is that information needs to be given to the police and indeed to the inquiry. what we need to happen now is for the police and then after the police this inquiry to go
absolutely in pursuit of the truth. and if people have been paying police officers, those police officers need to be prosecuted and the people who did the paying need to be prosecuted. it's as simple as that. >> after hearing the evidence that was given to the home select committee can i warmly say what my right honorable friend about the attention that will be given to the hacking of victims which includes many members of the public who suffered tragedy of their lives. is he aware that the home select committee emerges that it will take a considerable rate of time with a considerable rate of progress for all those victims would be properly informed. will he do that they are informed as quickly as possible and their cases are properly investigated? >> i think my honorable friend makes a good point and i do understand when you got the many phones of people whose phones were hacked and you got the current rate of progress of contacting them and looking into this it could take too long a time to get this done. i know there will be conversation with the metropolitan police authority to
make sure adequate resources are put into this investigation. it's already a far bigger investigation than the first failed investigation but to make sure they get to the bottom of this. >> mr. nigel dodds. and -- but broadcasters and social media as well? but can i be reassured that it will also include other illegal activities such as so-called blogging, hacking into email accounts. it will extend all parts of the united kingdom and in the interest of the victims of crime and terrorism in particular that both parties will be absolutely open about the extent of their relationship with the murdoch empire. >> on the last point about the relationship with news corporation and rupert murdoch and his family i've been totally transparent and will go on being transparent. on the issue of what the terms of reference mentioned, of course, this inquiry can look at blogging, can look at all of the
information crimes that have been documented. one of the issues in the terms of reference was, if you mention some forms but not others you give an additional priority. but no one should be in any doubt, lord justice levinson can go where the evidence leads. >> will my right honorable friend agree after the extraordinary events of the last few days the last thing the general public want to see is cheap partisanship. >> order, i want to hear the honorable lady. >> and that a focus on andy coulson comes ill from the party of tom baldwin and damien mcbride? >> i think the honorable lady makes a good point and can i commend her for her questioning and what she did yesterday on the select committee where i think she showed commendable pluck, if i can put it that way as well as asking some extremely pertinent questions. >> dennis skinner.
>> in the course of the past few minutes, the prime minister has been asked a simple question twice and refused to answer it, as prime minister, did he ever discuss the question of the bskyb bid with news international with all the meetings that they attended? >> i never had one inappropriate conversation. and let me be clear. let me be clear. let me be clear. i completely -- i completely took myself out of any decision-making about this bid. i had no role in it. i had no role in when the announcements were going to be made. that is the point. and when the honorable gentleman makes signals like that, i have to say -- >> order! the house again needs to calm
down. order! the question was properly heard. the prime minister's answer must be properly heard. the prime minister. >> i've answered the question. and the point -- the point i would make is unlike the party he's been supporting for the last god knows how many years, this party set out all its contacts, all its meetings, everything it did in stark contrast to the party opposite. >> mr. tobias elwood. >> mr. speaker, this -- judging the mood of the chamber, this might be an unpopular thing to say, but outside the westminster bubble, i'm getting the impression the nation has had its fill on this subject. it's actually getting -- it's actually getting fed up. it wants answers about the police corruption. it wants answers about the hacking. it wants answers about the relationship between the press and the media. but there's an inquiry on the way and that's where the answers will actually come and i think it's time this westminster bubble frenzy is actually placed on hold. there are other pressing
matters, mr. speaker, that this nation expects us -- >> we are grateful for the honorable gentleman. >> my honorable friend has made a good point we have set up a full inquiry, an inquiry that was never held under the 13 years of the last government. we've now got to let that inquiry find the answers to all of these questions. it's a very -- it looks at the police. it looks at media. it looks at bskyb. it looks at the conduct of politicians. it is able to ask all of those questions and we should allow it to get on with the job. >> paul? >> news international defense seems to have shifted from one rogue reporter to possibly one rogue lawyers. they haven't fully revealed who knew what and when and who participated in the cover-up. rupert murdoch said yesterday to the select committee that situation was unsatisfactory. prime minister, what would you urge news international to do now to resolve that situation? >> simple, tell the truth to the police and to the inquiry.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. does the prime minister agree with me that having failed the victims in 2006 when the mess of the government ignored the warnings and having failed the victims in 2009 when the review dismissed evidence in their own possession, we should not fail them now by simply apportioning blame, what we need is real reform about police, our media and our politics? >> i think the honorable lady is absolutely right. and the fact is we can go back over these reports and back over the missed warnings. the inquiry will be able to do that, too, and we should use that information to use this, frankly, once in a generation chance to try and get media regulation right. >> david winick. >> this motion is about public confidence at least the one -- the debate which is going to take place. can i ask the prime minister this question. does he really feel that his contact first as leader of the opposition, then as prime
minister should inspire confidence? borrowing and buying the phone hacking allegations and the way in which he employed the formerary of a "news of the world"? doesn't he realize that to many people how he has acted in the last few years has been put sordid? >> my answer to the honorable gentleman yes, which government has set up a judicial inquiry? this one. which has has made sure there's a fully resourced investigation, this one? which government is being totally transparent about its conduct and contacts with the media and asking others to do the same? that is what this government has done. his government for 13 years had all these opportunities and failed to take them. >> mr. frank davis. >> would the prime minister agree that in the past when the house of commons has been faced with big issues, he's had a tendency for knee-jerk overreactions and would he agree
that newspapers are a force for good in this country and what we want at the end of this process is criminality weeded out of the america but nothing that impinges on a free press, free speech and holding people in authority to account? >> i think my honorable friend is entirely right about this and we have to make sure as a house of commons, as a government as an opposition as a debate that we have about this to show an element of restraint in the regulation of the media because there is always a danger that the pendulum swings too far the other way and we start to threaten investigative journalism, a strong and independent media, one that can call government to account and when we consider some of the scandals that have been uncovered in recent years, it's often been the press that have done it and not the regulators. we'll come on to this i'm sure in the debate we'll have later but it's absolutely vital we maintain that british tradition. >> david lamy. >> rebecca brooks yesterday described the prime minister as a friend and a neighbor. we heard from jeremy clotson
about christmas walks and conversations over sausages. given -- >> order! this is the mother of parliament where we have free speech. this question will be heard and that's the end of it. >> given the butler review in the last parliament, does the prime minister believe that such informality on his behalf was consistent with what is expected? >> what i would say to the honorable gentleman is one of the things that came out of the evidence yesterday is -- is that whereas rebecca brooks was invited six times a year to number 10 downing street under both the former prime ministers, she hasn't been invited to number 10 downing street by me. now, of course, i have set out the great contrast is i have not -- i have set out all of the contacts and meetings that i've had in complete contrast to the
party opposite and i can say -- i can say this to the honorable gentleman, i've never held a slumber party or have seen her in her pajamas. >> thank you, mr. speaker. [laughter] >> the confidence of my constituents -- >> order! order! i want to hear and the house wants to hear mr. brian binly. >> i will start again. the confidence of my constituencies in northampton in the political process has been progressively undermined and can be traced to the dismal example of politicians in the mid-1990s laying all before the altar of media barons, how can we change that culture, address the abysmal failure